In many ways, Suzanne Hart’s story seems straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie: a successful working woman in midlife decides, after her third child goes off to college, to change careers and open a specialty food store. There is an enviable kitchen, an airy storefront filled with marble and rustic wood, and gorgeous river views.
There is also a happy ending: two years in, Suzanne’s Table in Irvington has hit its stride as both a prepared food shop and a cozy lunch spot. The clientele is a mix of busy professionals picking up dinner on the way home from the train, girlfriends meeting up for soup-and-half-sandwich combos, and parents and kids popping in for an after school snack. When I was there last, at 3:30 p.m. on a weekday, a mother and daughter were just sitting down with two thick, fudgy, homemade brownies. “Can I heat those for you?” the counter server asked. The service is stellar.
As is the food. Hart’s style of cooking is fresh, creative, and vegetable-forward. (She cites chef/restaurateur/cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi as a major influence.) Of course, there are plenty of comforting favorites, like tender turkey meatballs, gooey grilled cheese with spicy mustard, and a luscious avocado toast spiked with cumin and red pepper flakes. But there are also innovative new dishes, like a spicy chorizo frittata; portobello mushrooms stuffed with barley and preserved lemon; and grilled chicken thighs with hoisin glaze and Sriracha cashews.
In addition to the concise set menu, there is a rotating selection of daily specials including 2-3 main dishes, 1-2 soups (almost all of which are vegan), and a number of Instagram-worthy salads and side dishes, like roasted beets, vegetable couscous, and, recently, kabocha squash with sumac, fennel, lime, pistachios, and golden raisins.
I would be remiss not to mention the banana bread, which has developed a cult following among locals. “When we list it on the chalkboard out front, people run in from the sidewalk,” says Hart.
75 Main St., Irvington
Tues — Fri: 11 a.m. — 7 p.m. • Sat: 11 a.m. — 4 p.m.
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